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Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account review

Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account review

Money.ca / Money.ca

Fact Checked: Amy Tokic

🗓️

Updated: January 30, 2024

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware this post may contain links to products from our partners. We may receive a commission for products or services you sign up for through partner links.

Quick overview

The Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account is a great choice for those seeking an effortless and cost-effective solution for daily banking. Its main appeal lies in the absence of monthly fees, yet still offering unlimited transactions. It’s a hassle-free option for various users, including students, seniors and newcomers to Canada. There's also a generous $400 welcome bonus for new Simplii Financial customers.

Key benefits of this account include unlimited Interac e-transfers and access to a vast network of over 3,400 CIBC ATMs across Canada. Overdraft protection is available up to $5,000, adding an extra layer of financial security for a cost of $4.79 per month.

However, there are some limitations to consider. Simplii operates online, lacking physical branch access, which might be a drawback for those preferring in-person banking experiences. The welcome bonus is limited to new Simplii customers, and unfortunately, residents of Quebec are not eligible to open an account with Simplii. These factors and the account's basic interest-earning potential should be weighed against the account's no-fee structure and convenience to determine its suitability for individual banking needs.

Open an account

Who’s this account for?

The Simplii No Fee Chequing Account is for anyone seeking an easy-to-use, cost-effective option for everyday banking. This account is particularly suitable for students, seniors, Canadian newcomers or anyone aiming to eliminate annoying account fees. With unlimited transactions and no monthly fees, it simplifies everyday financial activities, allowing you to make purchases worry-free.

Additionally, they have targeted options such as the Simplii financial student account and another for international students. Both accounts seamlessly integrate with GIC accounts for a more streamlined banking experience. Unfortunately, they don’t offer Simplii financial business accounts.

Whether you're looking for a primary chequing account or an additional option to complement existing accounts, Simplii's no fee structure makes it a versatile and attractive choice.

Simplii No Fee Chequing Account pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • Generous welcome bonus of up to $400

  • No monthly account fees

  • Unlimited transactions

  • Free Interac e-transfers

  • Access to CIBC’s vast ATM network

  • Overdraft protection available

  • Earn a referral bonus

  • Earn interest in your chequing account from 0.01% to 0.1%

  • No fee global money transfer

  • Free cheques

Cons

Cons

  • Simplii is online only with no branch access

  • The welcome bonus is only for new Simplii customers

  • Quebec residents are not eligible to open a Simplii bank account

How to open a Simplii account

Simplii financial account opening can be done fully online in a few quick steps:

  1. 1.

    Go to the Simplii website and click "Join Simplii"

  2. 2.

    Select the accounts you want and click "Apply Now"

  3. 3.

    Select if you are a resident of Canada, a newcomer to Canada or an international student

  4. 4.

    Verify your identity and personal information such as SIN number, contact info and address

  5. 5.

    Accept the terms and conditions

  6. 6.

    Set up a username, password and security questions.

  7. 7.

    Review and submit the application

You can complete the entire process on your phone, tablet or computer in around 10 minutes. You'll typically get approved within a few days. After approval, you'll receive an immediate welcome email and a package with your client information and debit card within one to two weeks. Then you can register for online banking using the card to access your account.

A closer look at Simplii Financial banking online

Simplii No Fee Chequing Account: Details

How do I set up Direct Deposit?

You can set up direct deposit through your employer's payroll portal or submit a direct deposit form available in Simplii online banking. Direct deposit will allow your paycheck or other deposits to be automatically deposited into your Simplii account.

Do I get a debit card?

Yes, you get a Simplii debit card with the account. It’s a standard debit Mastercard that you can use to make purchases online, and in-store. As expected, it offers contactless tap and mobile wallet functionality. Uniquely, you can use the debit card at any CIBC ATM. 

How long does it take to open an account?

Opening the account fully online only takes about 10 minutes. You'll typically receive approval within a few days and get your debit card in the mail within one to two weeks.

How long do e-transfers take?

Sending Interac e-transfers to recipients with Auto Deposit set up is practically instant. Otherwise, funds are typically deposited within 30 minutes once the recipient logs into their bank and deposits the money.

What can I expect in the app?

The Simplii mobile app lets you pay bills, review balances, send e-transfers, deposit cheques and more. It has a biometric login, customizable budgets and spending insights.

Is there overdraft protection?

Yes, you can get Simplii Financial overdraft protection up to $5,000. This can help cover payments or withdrawals if you overspend your balance. However, you’ll need to pay a $4.97 monthly fee to access overdraft protection. There’s also a 19% interest rate that applies to overdraft balances. Without overdraft protection, you’ll need to pay a $45 NSF fee.

Simplii Financial banking limits and fees

Feature Limit/Fee
Overdraft limit Up to $5,000
Overdraft fee $4.97 per month if used
Overdraft interest 19% on overdraft balance
Outgoing and incoming Interac e-transfer Free
Debit cards 1 free replacement per year if lost or stolen
Cheque fee Free to order void or standard cheques
ATM withdrawal fees Free at CIBC ATMs. $1.5 per withdrawal at non-CIBC ATMs in Canada and $3 for international ATMs

Can you use Simplii for investing?

While Simplii Financial focuses primarily on core banking products, they provide some basic options for conservative investors who want guaranteed returns without much risk. However, for broader investing in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs, you'll need to look at opening accounts with full-service brokerages or robo-advisors.

Simplii offers decent interest rates on registered savings accounts and GICs that can play a role in a balanced portfolio. However, the investment selection is limited compared to dedicated investment platforms.

Simplii RRSP

The Simplii RRSP Savings Account offers a 0.40% interest rate, higher than the savings account rate of 0.05% but lower than other online banks such as Tangerine or EQ Bank. While stable, Simplii’s rate is much lower than the average 7% returns from invested RRSPs like the TSX. This account is ideal for conservative savers seeking a low-risk, hands-off option. 

Simplii GICs

Simplii offers guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) with terms ranging from one to five years and fixed interest rates. These rates are decent but not industry-leading. For example, EQ Bank currently offers 5.1% on a one-year GIC. The benefits of Simplii GICs are guaranteed returns, no risk to your principal and CDIC protection of up to $100,000. 

As usual with GICs, your money is locked in for the term with fees for early redemptions. GICs work well for medium-term savings goals when you prioritize stability, and don’t expect to access the money soon.

Term Interest rate
1 year
4.90%
2 years 4.15%
3 years 4.00%
4 years 4.00%
5 years 4.00%

Simplii TFSA

Simplii’s TFSA savings account earns the same 0.40% interest rate as the RRSP account. However, unlike an RRSP, your investment growth is tax-free instead of just tax-deferred. Overall, the Simplii TFSA savings account makes sense for investors who want an easy, no-risk way to use their TFSA contribution room each year.

Simplii mutual funds

You can buy mutual funds at Simplii through their parent bank CIBC. As such, you’ll be investing in CIBC’s products. This is done through Simplii Invest, which provides access to portfolios of mutual funds. 

The investment process starts with a brief risk questionnaire to match you with a suitable portfolio. You can then invest in the mutual funds directly through your Simplii chequing account.

The management fee varies across mutual funds, but Simplii customers receive a 10 basis point discount. However, the fund selection is limited compared to full brokerages. 

Simplii education plans

Simplii allows you to open self-directed RESP accounts to invest in your child’s education. The benefit of an RESP is tax-deferred growth and access to government grants ($500 per year per child with the CESG up till age 17). However, the account is self-managed, offering no professional advice. 

Simplii loans

Personal loans

Personal loans provide a lump-sum deposit, compared to a line of credit that offers more withdrawal flexibility. As such, personal loans offer more predictable payments. 

Simplii Financial offers personal loans with fixed and variable rates. Simplii doesn’t publish their personal loan rates but states they are competitive.  The interest rate you receive depends on your credit profile and market conditions. 

Simplii’s personal loans are open, meaning you can prepay them without penalty whenever desired.

Secured lines of credit

A secured line of credit offers the most flexibility and lowest interest rates. Simplii’s secured line of credit uses your home as collateral, with rates as low as CIBC’s prime. 

If approved, you’ll receive a credit limit that you can withdraw from. The secured line links to your Simplii chequing account to easily access the borrowed funds. Similar to a credit card, you’ll only need to pay interest on portions you use. However, Simplii charges a one-time $150 setup fee for processing the line of credit. The lines of credits start at a $15,000 minimum.

Simplii No Fee Chequing Account key benefits

  • Up to $400 welcome bonus
  • Earn interest in your chequing account, which most banks don't offer
  • No monthly account fees or minimum balances
  • Unlimited daily transactions like bill payments, debit purchases, e-transfers and more
  • Free Interac e-transfers
  • Free international money transfers
  • Free cheques
  • Access to over 3,400 fee-free CIBC ATMs coast-to-coast
  • Overdraft protection available up to $5,000 if required
  • Strong digital banking options through online banking and the Simplii mobile app

What people say about this account

The Simplii no fee chequing account consistently earns overall positive feedback online. Users appreciate its lack of fees, digital banking capabilities, and included debit card.

Reddit threads like r/PersonalFinanceCanada recommend it as an affordable basic banking option with great mobile features. Users mention the convenience of using CIBC ATMs and generous sign-up bonuses. Complaints are rare, mainly around occasional technical issues or customer service.

On Trustpilot, their rating stands at a modest 1.8. This score primarily reflects customer grievances regarding customer service and concerns over ambiguous promotions related to interest rates and the marketing of financial products. It's noteworthy, however, that many banks tend to receive lower ratings on Trustpilot. This trend suggests that dissatisfied customers are more inclined to voice their complaints on such platforms than satisfied customers who might be less motivated to leave positive feedback. In comparison, Simplii’s 1.8 rating actually fares better than some of its competitors, like TD, which has a rating of 1.4.

How Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account compares

KOHO vs. Simplii

Simplii’s account is more suitable for those looking for a comprehensive banking experience, whereas KOHO targets users who prefer rewards.

Both companies offer no fee accounts with unlimited transactions, free e-transfers and mobile apps. However, KOHO caters to cashback enthusiasts, earning up to 2% cash back on spending. Simplii’s debit card earns no cash back. 

In contrast, Simplii offers better ATM access. This is due to their CIBC partnership, whereas KOHO is constrained to the Cirus network. Simplii also provides overdraft protection, but KOHO restricts it to “once you qualify.”

EQ Bank vs. Simplii

Simplii Financial and EQ Bank cater to digitally savvy customers but with distinct banking approaches. Simplii front-loads earnings with a $400 welcome bonus, while EQ offers interest rates up to 4%. 

EQ Bank is unique in its approach to merging chequing and savings accounts. The hybrid account earns a strong interest rate, with access to cashback on debit card spending. 

In terms of ATM networks, EQ Bank pulls ahead. This is because they rebate ATM fees, providing no fee access to networks across Canada. Otherwise, Simplii is constrained to CIBC’s network. 

Tangerine vs. Simplii

Simplii and Tangerine are similar banks. They’re owned by CIBC and Scotiabank, offering access to their networks. The similarities extend to its chequing accounts. 

Both accounts have welcome offers of up to $400. They also have robust ATM networks, as mentioned above. Otherwise, Simplii offers free cheques, a $50 cost at Tangerine. 

Feature Simplii KOHO EQ Bank Tangerine
Monthly fee $0 $0, $4, $9, $19 depending on plan $0 $0
ATM access CIBC Limited to Cirus network Rebated fees from any ATM in Canada Scotiabank
Benefits Free cheques Cash back rewards, high savings High interest, cash back rewards Cash back rewards in welcome bonus
Direct deposit Yes Yes Yes Yes
Welcome offer Up to $400 $20 N/A Up to $400

Is the Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account worth It?

For those looking for affordable, straightforward daily banking, the Simplii No Fee Chequing Account is worth considering. The lack of any monthly fees or minimum balance requirements provides strong value. You get a full-service account with unlimited transactions, a debit card and mobile features. Overdraft protection is also available for an added cost.

While the interest rate is minimal, and it doesn't offer cash back or rewards like some competitors, the consistent no fee structure can outweigh those limitations for anyone wanting simplistic daily banking. For seamless digital banking capabilities and debit card acceptance across Canada and globally, Simplii covers the basics effectively.

FAQs

  • How do I deposit money into my Simplii chequing account?

    +

    You can deposit to your Simplii chequing account in a few ways:

    Set up direct deposit of your pay, pension or government deposits.

    Use the Simplii mobile app to photograph and deposit cheques.

    Transfer funds from an external bank account through online banking.

    Visit a CIBC ATM to deposit cash or cheques into your Simplii account.

  • How do I get a void cheque from my Simplii account?

    +

    Log in to Online Banking and go to Account Details. Click 'Get Void Cheque' to access a blank cheque with your info pre-filled. Review your name, address and account number to ensure accuracy. Click Print to save or print the void cheque.

  • Is there a minimum balance with a Simplii chequing account?

    +

    No minimum balance is required to open or maintain a Simplii No Fee Chequing Account. This account has no monthly fees, regardless of your balance.

  • Can I have two chequing accounts with Simplii Financial?

    +

    Yes, you can have two No Fee Chequing Account with Simplii Financial. This could be joint accounts with one other person. This allows you to separate funds for your personal and the joint account. In the app you can apply for new separate chequing accounts.

About our author

Lucas Elliott
Lucas Elliott, Freelance writer

Lucas, a Toronto native, holds an Honours BBA (Finance) degree obtained from Wilfrid Laurier University. His career has spanned venture capital and blockchain startups. Aside from writing at Moneywise, Lucas is a Hardbacon and Loans Canada contributor, and content specialist at Croton Content. Additionally, his passion for exploring the world has taken him to an impressive 28 countries across Europe, North America, Asia, and Central America.

Disclaimer

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